“…I suggest Lesotho must look at its own problems and select courses accordingly, not just pick what they believe is a good course because most of them are not applicable to our country. Medicine should be a number one priority, then Information Technology and other traditional engineering fields such as Civil, and Electrical…”
When I read that comment in the Lesotho Times recently I immediately knew where the debate was going.
The narrow argument is that there are some courses or professions that are more important than others.
I have heard that argument a lot of times but for some reason, it still startles me because those that push this view have never put forward the criteria they use to measure the value of courses and professions to this world.
In the absence of such a scale I fail to understand how someone could come to the conclusion that some courses or professions are more important than others.
I believe the courses offered at tertiary institutions like the National University of Lesotho, the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Lerotholi Polytechnic, Lesotho College of Education, Leloaleng Technical School and so forth, are relevant, appropriate and interrelated.
It is for that reason that I will not accept the argument that some courses are “good” while others are “bad”.
Our universities and colleges are offering courses which are unique and useful in their own modes.
Get me right.
I am not against the idea that our tertiaries need to improve in the courses they offer.
Of course they have to keep changing and making improvements where necessary.That is only natural.
The problem starts when people argue that the “government should not just pick what they think is a good course because most of them are not applicable in our country”.
In other words such people are arguing that there are some courses that are irrelevant to this country and therefore “bad” for this country.
How a course can be described as irrelevant or “bad” beats me.
By saying some courses are not applicable to our country we are implying that our country should stop developing because what we have is enough.
But such arguments do not consider that we are living in a world which is in constant flux.
We are living in a world where new knowledge should not claim superiority over the already existing one.
The argument that “medicine should be a number one priority, then Information Technology” is misdirected and shows that we are incapable of broadening our horizons.
By what criteria do we determine what courses should be given priority by the government?
It is true we need medical doctors, Information Technologists, engineers and scientists but that is not all we need.
What about other professions which are playing vital roles in our everyday life?
We need a medical doctor as much as we need a social worker, a psychologist, a theologian, a politician, a philosopher, an accountant, a teacher, and even domestic worker.
These professions are interrelated rather than conflicting so we must find harmony between them rather than absolute diversity.
I acknowledge that they are different but in their difference I can still find the commonality. It is a fact of metaphysics that in order to notice the difference between two or more objects, there should be that sameness which makes them different.
Likewise, to notice sameness in two or more objects, there should be that difference which makes those objects similar. This shows there is harmony existing within those objects, they are neither absolutely different nor the same.
Let me give you a concrete example that there is some kind of harmony existing between our different professions.
Both medical doctors and philosophers will be focusing on a human person. A medical doctor will be concerned on anatomical functioning of a human body while a philosopher will be concerned on existence and meaning of life to the human being.
A social worker will be concerned with social issues affecting a human being.
A theologian will be focusing on the spiritual wellbeing of that person.
A chef will nourish such person with good and healthy food. A fashion designer ensures that such person is dressed.
Engineers are making sure that such person has technologies which make life a bit easier.
The focal point in all above instances is a human person; this is the obvious similarity existing within them.
Furthermore, all these professions help one another to develop: from the critics of a philosopher of science, scientists are able to revisit their observations hence corroborate their facts.
All these professions are important and there is no one which deserves to be undermined.
Instead of classifying them as “good” or “bad” we better be prudent enough to see which one is most applicable in particular instances.
The danger with prioritising professions is that, one profession is tempted to think it has all answers to all aspects of humanity, which is not true.
This is the reason we end up having scientists going beyond their sphere of science and start telling us about the existence or non-existence of God.
What would then be the role of theologians or philosophers of religion?
Or we end up having accountants telling us how government should or ought to operate.
Professions help each other to develop and run efficiently. Our country needs all of these professions even new ones to improve the lives of Basotho.
We should appreciate efforts made by different professions and acknowledge the fact that our differences are not meant to separate us but to bring us even much closer and understanding each other better.
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